new computer dual boot? vista and xp

Hope to order new system this coming week. System is for home office, and will edit photos and video. Buying top gaming system components with 4GB ram. I buy new desktop every 5 yrs so I'd like to be set up for the future.

After reading here I think I will have a dual boot system because of concern of old programs not running.

Should I buy 2 internal drives and put vista (ultimate 64) on one and xp on the other?

Unclear how to go back and forth from one OS to the other?

Should I take the hard drive from my old computer with xp on it and just move it to the new computer instead of buying a second new internal drive?

If I keep all data on an external drive both OS will just access and update the same files? Do I need a new copy of office or can I use the old version?


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  1. I'd recommend having 2 internal drives, with xp on one and vista on the other. With dual booting between the two, the easiest way is to install XP first, then Vista. That way Vista will detect XP and set up it's own 'Boot Loader' allowing you to choose which one you want to boot into.

    Keep in mind that you''l only be able to run 1 OS at a time, meaning that if you wanted to use the other Operating System, you'd have to restart your computer and select it from the boot menu that is presented.

    If you have an external drive, then yes, both Operating Systems can access and update the same files. What version of Office are you using? Office 2003 seems to work fine under Vista 32, not sure about 64 though.

    That's just what I'd suggest anyway. There's probably a better/alternative way that suits you best, but this is just 1 idea :)
  2. I like the two drive concept. I have never tried it; but it makes sense. If you were to install on two "different" drives; then to switch you would need to go into the system bios to switch the drive to boot; but if you dont mind this, dont see why it would not work. I dont think it would matter which drive you installed to first as one drive does not relate to the other, but maybe there is something I am not thinking of with this so would go with previous posters recommendation.. One thing i wonder though is if you can read the vista data on one drive while being in xp on the other or vice versa due to file permission limitations. This i am unsure of; maybe others can way in on if this would be issue as this is not really a dual boot drive; but two seperate drives that operate independent of each other.
  3. I currently dual boot Vista Ultimate 64 and XP Pro.
    I've got mine setup slightly differently in that both OS's are on the same drive (partitioned) but I can access either one though without a problem while in the other OS.

    As for system booting, as I mentioned earlier, if you install XP then Vista, Vista will detect XP and even though it will install to a different drive (or wherever you state) it will include an option for booting into an 'Earlier Version of Windows' but will default to Vista.

    If you install Vista first then XP, well that will open up a can of worms :) as XP will effectively stuff up Vista's boot loader with it's own and you'll only be able to boot to XP, if at all (had an issue at work where it just didn't work). Assuming it boots to XP, you'll then need to boot off the Vista DVD and repair the Startup and then manually put XP into Vista's boot loader.

    There's a handy program called EasyBCD that will do the last part. :D
  4. Thanks. I'm having a few second thoughts. May get 2 GB ram because the place from which I'm buying only has Kingston ram on 2GB sticks and I wanted Corsair. So I buy Corsair 2GB on 2 - 1GB sticks. Also, may get home edition because maybe I don't really need the extra stuff on ultimate. Also, maybe get retail version ($181 vs $102) so I can upgrade for free to 64bit and then buy the extra 2GB stick elsewhere. What should I do?
  5. 2 gigs seems like the sweet spot right now especially if your going with 32 bit version (the 32 bit version will not recognize all 4 gigs of ram; so some ram would be wasted if you went with 4 gigs and 32 bit version of vista). With regard to home version of vista, this is up to you but this may limit you in future with regard to use (to me there should of been only two versions: home and business as current "home version" limits use for using your computer in the home--- personnally i think its a ripoff and attempt to make you pay more in the end; but im not going to go into that now; its also interesting that you cant even fax with home or premium editions unless you pay extra for a third party application).

    With regard to 64 bit version vs 32 bit version, the main thing is to make sure your hardware will work with 64 bit; however, i should say you have advantage of having xp through a dual boot system which would enable you to still use your legacy hardware and applications. However, if you are looking at using your legacy printers, scanners, camera, etc with 64 bit vista version, i would do a little research as this could cause you a lot of extra expense as you would have to replace all this stuff if did not work with vista 64. It should also be noted that some things may not work with 32 bit vista; but think that the 64 bit vista is more likely to cause you problems with legacy devices.
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